A WORD FOR IT

Rachelle Toarmino

if I am speaking to youand I suddenly stopit is because I am consideringthat everything I say lately feels like a draftthere are fresh coats of paintand a world in my mouth!adhesive doubtslive in the hairs on my tongue!behind my teethis where I leave my dreams!I am speaking thislike the little boy I babysitwho points to the space underneath his kneesand says I usually like to cry in hereI am trying to tell youthat I don't know if I come acrosswhether or not you hear somethingif you don't have a word for itI am a gestureI belong mostly to movement

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Rachelle Toarmino is the author of the poetry collection That Ex and the chapbooks Comeback, Feel Royal, and Personal & Generic. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Bennington Review, Electric Literature, Literary Hub, Salt Hill Journal, Shabby Doll House, and elsewhere. She is the founding editor in chief of Peach Mag and an MFA candidate in poetry at UMass Amherst.

"Rachelle Toarmino's That Ex is the poetry book all your ex-boyfriends warned you was crazy. These poems are somewhere between aphorism, dm, and good old-fashioned free verse. This is a sensitive, self-aware collection full of Britney Spears references, emotional vulnerability, and digital nostalgia. Funny, tender, and real."
—Hera Lindsay Bird, author of Hera Lindsay Bird

"Considering that That Ex is an exploration of romance as experienced by a generation that came of age with MySpace and navigated "real romance" with Tinder, Toarmino's choice to embrace the ways social media and technology are intertwined with our every emotional experience invites us to suspend any doubts about whether such things "belong" in the poetic tradition in the first place. That these choices always read as true, rather than gimmicky, testifies to how authentic and precisely rendered these details feel, how effectively Toarmino terraforms this type of poetic sequence to her world."
—Jon Lemay, Barrelhouse

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